Low-profile mechanical keyboards have all the time appeared a bit odd to me. I get the attraction — in idea, they provide a slim, visually lighter design just like a typical membrane chiclet keyboard whereas sustaining the improved tactility and higher typing expertise of a conventional mechanical keyboard.
However in my expertise, they normally find yourself because the worst of each worlds. They’re nonetheless greater than a membrane keyboard however don’t really feel markedly higher to sort on. Plus, they’re much more durable to customise than customary mechanical boards because of a a lot smaller pool of suitable switches, keycaps, and different elements. My place has been that in the event you aren’t going all the best way to a full-height mechanical keyboard, don’t trouble.
This $159 Lofree Circulation keyboard I’ve been typing on for the previous few days would possibly simply change my thoughts. Its chassis is simply 10mm thick, however it maintains a really good typing expertise. It seems to be cool, with stylish keycaps and sharp legends, and works wirelessly with each Home windows and Mac computer systems. It additionally has an aluminum body and construct high quality that rivals fancier mechanical keyboards, and it sounds and feels nice proper out of the field — no rattly stabilizers or pingy reverberations right here.
Lofree sells two variations of the Circulation: a white and silver one with linear switches and a black and darkish grey mannequin that comes with tactile switches and apes Apple’s house grey motif. (Oddly and annoyingly, you’ll be able to’t select the colour scheme and sort of swap individually.) It’s clear that Lofree is concentrating on Mac customers instantly with the model and performance of the Circulation, however it has a Home windows mode and twin legends on the modifier keys to help each platforms. I’ve bought the darkish grey mannequin with black keycaps right here, and I actually like the best way it seems to be on my desk — it’s smooth and takes up a minimal quantity of house.
The Circulation has a 75 % structure, which implies it has arrow keys, a perform row, and a handful of cursor management keys. Except you might have a particular want for a numpad, this structure offers you all of the keys you want in a compact format and is similar to what’s on a whole lot of laptops.
Each colours of the Circulation allow you to swap out the keycaps and switches, however in the event you have been hoping to go wild with customization, there are limits. The Circulation’s switches have a distinct pin structure from different low-profile switches, so you’re successfully restricted to Lofree’s inventory Kailh switches in both linear, tactile, or clicky variants. The Circulation additionally doesn’t help standard remapping instruments like VIA that allow you to customise the performance of the keys precisely how you want them.
For me, none of these limitations have been an issue as a result of I actually like each the best way the Circulation seems to be with its included keycaps and the way it feels and sounds with the Phantom tactile switches my unit got here with. I’m additionally in a position to remap keys utilizing Karabiner Parts on my Mac, so I don’t actually miss VIA. The keycaps are a textured PBT materials that resists shine and feels good beneath my fingers. Their profile is a bit flatter than I’m used to, however I feel that makes it simpler for these coming from a laptop computer or chiclet keyboard. (I used to be in a position to get full-size MX-style keycaps to work on the Circulation, however the typing journey was comically low, and doing so sort of defeats the aim of a low-profile keyboard.)
The switches are clean, self-lubricating, and have a journey of two.8mm. That’s lots longer than the 1mm or so that you get on a MacBook, however it’s significantly shorter than the 4mm or extra a full-height mechanical swap might need. In consequence, I backside out much more when typing on the Circulation than I do on my different mechanical boards. However it’s nonetheless extra satisfying than typing on a Magic Keyboard, and the Circulation has a dampened really feel that reduces harshness due to the froth and gaskets within it.
The Circulation has another perks and options, like RGB underglow lighting and white backlighting. The perform row on the prime helps media, quantity, and different controls on my Mac as anticipated, and you’ll pair as much as three units to the keyboard over Bluetooth and swap between them at will, or you should use it wired by means of a USB-C cable. The Circulation lacks the two.4GHz wi-fi choice that a whole lot of different keyboards are providing now, making it much less very best for critical gaming when wi-fi. Lofree claims the two,000mAh battery will last as long as 40 hours between costs, and it takes about three hours to completely cost the board.
Some may not like the truth that the Circulation doesn’t have adjustable toes to vary its 3.9-degree typing angle, however since I by no means tilt my keyboard up, I haven’t missed them. The a number of layers of froth and gaskets contained in the Circulation make it sound good with out the necessity to crack it open and modify it. I actually am impressed with how this keyboard sounds: it’s marble-y and dense, with out a budget, clacky sound I’ve skilled on different pre-built low-profile keyboards. Equally, the typing really feel is strong however cushioned due to the gasket mounting system (an obvious first for a low-profile keyboard). It offers a few of my full-height customized boards a run for his or her (appreciable) cash.
As a result of the Circulation is made out of aluminum and never plastic like a whole lot of different low-profile keyboards, it’s heavier than anticipated, which could make touring with it a bit cumbersome. However that 1.25lb (568g) weight mixed with the grippy rubber toes on the underside retains it planted at my desk once I’m hammering away on the keys, and it doesn’t slide round in any respect.
I don’t know if I’m completely offered on low-profile keyboards, however I can say that I do like this one. In fact, it nonetheless comes with compromises in customizability and a hefty price ticket: at $160, this may be the costliest low-profile board I’ve come throughout. Keychron and Nuphy are standard producers that cost about $120 to $130 for his or her comparable low-profile boards. However each of these firms primarily use plastic all through, and neither matches the extent of construct high quality, design, and typing really feel I’ve skilled on the Circulation.
I take that again, I’m offered: I simply ordered a Circulation of my very own.
#keyboard #convert #lowprofile #life